Best friend, & soul mate
Bible teacher, best friend, & soul mate
Because I knew him for 57 of his 74 years and was his soul mate, I would like to tell you a little about Jim Mays before you start studying with him.
When he taught he was careful to follow the pattern given in Nehemiah 8:8 "They read from the book of the Law, making it clear and giving the meaning so the people could understand the meaning so the people could understand the meaning of what was being read." He knew the English language so well he could explain the scriptures in simple terms, and felt this was the duty of a good teacher. He was not one to fill the air with a lot of fluffy words because he remembered Solomon's admonition - "The more the words, the less the meaning.: He also remembered the result of the teaching of Nehemiah was talking about when he read further, "...the people went away...with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them." You will find as you study with him, he refrains from using big words just as the teachers of old did in the above scripture.
He would often say the safest way to interpret the scriptures is to use other scriptures. You will find these studies contain a minimum of his words and lots of scriptures. He also typed out the scriptures for you because he knew it was easy to overlook the actual words if he just put "Nehemiah 8:8", for example.
Jim felt that simply reading the scriptures over and over was the first place to start in learning them. He loved to play CDs of the scriptures while he read along and believe it or not, even wore some of them out and had to have them replaced. When I say read, I don't mean a couple verses here and there or even a couple of chapters - he would, if possible read the whole book (or large chunks of the big ones) so he would get the context. He knew context is supremely important. He was aware of the old saying "Judas went out and hanged himself", "Go thou and do likewise", and "What thou doest, do quickly." All scriptures, but taken completely out of context. When he was going along, he would circle thoughts and connect them with a line to the same thought stated elsewhere on the page. His Bible was a workbook, not something on the coffee table to be seen.
Another thing he was careful about was the premise of any statement. He told me that if you start with the wrong premise, you cannot reach the right conclusion. That's the reason he begins with the "Quest" book the premise that we exist and the universe exists. Everyone agrees with that, then he goes on to prove by logic that God exists along with a lot of other things.
He was a quiet, gentle man. He knew James said in the third chapter of his book, the wise would show it by a good life and deeds done in humility and that wisdom that comes from above is first pure, peaceable, and easy to be entreated. That's how he lived his life so his household was a peaceful one. He also followed James' advice in the first chapter to be "Swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry."
Another of his favorite scriptures was Micah 6:8 ..."and what does the Lord require of you? To do justly, love kindness and walk humbly with your God." He called this "Christianity in a nutshell." Because this was the kind of life he lived each day, it inspired those around him to do their best to do the same.
Actually all the scriptures were his favorites, but these describe your teacher. I hope you enjoy studying with him as much as he enjoyed teaching.